Our player previews today take a look at a trio of players who have tremendous upside.
No.10 G Jose Alvarado
Alvarado is one of really two players that Georgia Tech’s success will ultimately depend on. Alongside guard Michael Devoe, Alvarado is by far the Jackets’ most important piece to success. Each season so far in his Georgia Tech career, Alvarado has taken promising steps forward.
Last season, Alvarado has a career-high 14.4 points per game as well as career highs in assists (4.0) and steals (2.2). From the floor, he shot 44.4% including 53.% from within the perimeter, though he did struggle at times from long range only shooting 33.6% for the season. His true shooting percentage was a solid 56.2% while his usage percentage when on the floor was 23% the highest of his career. With that career-high usage rate, he had a 107.1 offensive rating which was the second-highest of his career (108.4 as a freshman).
That being said, while he didn’t have his greatest season offensively in advanced metrics (wasn’t bad by any means), his defense took quite the step forward as shown by his defensive rating. After posting defensive ratings of 104.3 (freshman) and 99.2 (sophomore), Alvarado posted a defensive rating of 94.0 last season after recording his career-high in steals per game and steal percentage. His season box plus-minus also doubled itself and some at 7.3 after posting a BPM of 3.5 in the 2018-19 season.
This upcoming season, Alvarado will be the man the Yellow Jackets offense runs through. He’ll bring up the ball a majority of the time and will be the conductor of the offense when on the court. There is plenty he needs to improve on this season, including turnovers. He posted a career-high in turnovers per game last season at 2.7 per game or about a turnover percentage of 17%. That being said, he has a high basketball IQ and has the ability to make a wide range of passes of varying difficulty. He often gets in trouble when trying to play too fast over trying too hard to make a big play (ex; trying to get something going when the opposing team is on a big run). All in all, Alvarado is the heart and soul of this Georgia Tech team and he’ll be a big part of how successful they end up being this season.
No.11 G Tristan Maxwell
A true freshman, Maxwell comes to the Yellow Jackets from North Mecklenburg High School in Charlotte, North Carolina. A three-star recruit in the 2020 recruiting class, Maxwell was ranked as a top-40 combo guard in the country, a top-13 player in North Carolina, and a borderline top-300 player (No. 304) per 247Sports composite rankings.
Maxwell committed to the Jackets over 11 other scholarships including Georgetown, Gonzaga, NC State, Pittsburgh, Providence, and Temple, among others. Maxwell is the son of Vernon Maxwell, a former second-round pick in the 1988 NBA Draft out of Florida. The elder Maxwell would go onto play 13 years in the NBA from 1998 to 2001 and won two NBA Championships with the Houston Rockets (1994 and 1995).
The younger Maxwell is coming to Georgia Tech after finishing up a tremendous high school career for North Mecklenburg that culminated with him being named North Carolina Mr. Basketball 2020 as well as surpassing 2,000 career points last winter. He was the 48th player in North Carolina high school basketball history to surpass the 2,000 points mark. Prior winners of the award in recent years include Wendell Moore, Coby White, Bama Adebayo, and Brandon Ingram.
It’s hard to say what type of role that Maxwell will have in 2020 but there is certainly high upside with the three-star recruit.
No.12 F Khalid Moore
Moore is entering his third season with the Yellow Jackets after averaging 3.3 points per game last season and shooting 34.8% from the field while appearing in 29 games and starting in 12. In his 17.1 minutes per contest, Moore definitely struggled offensively as shown in his points per game and shooting percentage while posting just an 81.2 offensive rating. That being said, Moore did bring quality products to the defensive side of the ball for the Jackets with a defensive rating of 96.6.
This season, Moore will need to take a step forward offensively if he hopes to keep his minutes and not see them lost with players like David Didenko, Jordan Meka, and Rodney Howard are waiting to get their own opportunities.
Moore will always be a solid player defensively, someone you can trust to be solid on the defensive side and make a couple of big plays in the process. He’s great for situational basketball where you have a sizeable lead and want to keep the opposing offense in check. However, offensively he may be a liability more so at this point and it’s hard to justify him being on the court in most situations when better options are available.
I think there is upside with Moore and he still has a chance to be a player for the Yellow Jackets but until his offensive abilities to take a step forward, he likely should be a defensive situational player mostly unless the Jackets truly have no other options.